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Zatoichi's Revenge hss Intendant Isoda and his partner in crime Boss Tatsugoro. The two participate in a venture where they give out loans to people in need of them, but when the men inevitably cannot pay due to the unfair rates, the duo abduct their wives or daughters and force them into prostitution. In some cases, they even have those indebted to them murdered so they can force the girls into the brothels anyways as that was their true aim all along. If the girls show any disobedience, Isoda and Tatsugoro have them viciously beaten and locked up until they can no longer resist. To top it off, neither is above sexually assaulting the women themselves if they want her.
Zatoichi and the Outlaw has Boss Asagoro and the corrupt official Kyushiro Suga. Asagoro wins Ichi's favor by posing as an honorable Yakuza boss so Ichi will wipe out his rival, promising to champion the people who suffer under the corrupt Suga. Instead, Asagoro betrays Ichi's trust and he and Suga viciously oppress the peasants worse than before. Asagoro forces a woman named Oshino to be Suga's concubine, and when she refuses to sleep with him, Suga tortures her and sends her to Asagoro's brothel where Asagoro will have clients forced on her. Oshino opts to kill herself first and when her beloved tries to avenge her, Asagoro simply has his throat cut without a hint of humanity. Suga and Asagoro deal with rivals on trumped up charges of treason while working to torture and brutalize anyone who might dare rebel. When Ichi goes to see Asagoro, Asagoro feigns friendship still...only to try to have Ichi shot as he leaves his home, knowing how deadly Ichi's sword skills are. Even at the end, Asagoro displays no loyalty to his own men and uses one as a Human Shield when Ichi comes for him.
Zatoichi in Desperation has Boss Mangoro Kagiya, who also runs his territory with an iron fist. Mangoro has the populace cowed and his Yakuza kill as they will, even beating the village idiot to death for no real reason. He dispossesses the legitimate fishermen of their property and has his bodyguard put them to the sword. When a little boy throws a pebble at him in a tiny display of defiance, Mangoro seizes him and beats his skull in with the sheath of his sword. Working off indebted prostitution as well, Mangoro has a prostitute Ichi knows used as a hostage to get him to surrender by threatening to kill her, and then tortures Ichi by impaling his hands. When Ichi manages to fight back and kills most of Mangoro's men, Mangoro still tries to order his men to kill Ichi by threatening their lives if they refuse and when this fails, rushes from house to house, threatening each peasant to give him shelter from Ichi's wrath.
Crowning Moment of Funny: Numerous moments in the Takeshi Kitano film. Appropriate, since Kitano, the star and director, is a comedian.
Foe Yay: Between Ichi and Hirate in the first film. They see each other as Worthy Opponents and there is a scene where Ichi gives Hirate a massage. One of the more positive foe-yay relationships.
I Am Not Shazam: The protagonist's name is Ichi, Zato refers to a historical guild for blind men. Ichi should be called Zato-no-Ichi, but this is shortened to Zatoichi.
What Could Have Been: Bruce Lee was considered to play Zatoichi on film and even went as far as to do some costume tests, according to the documentary Bruce Lee, The Legend.